What is probate?
Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a will and appoints the executor or personal representative who will administer the estate, distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries, and ensure all of the deceased’s outstanding debts are paid off. This is done in a courtroom in front of a judge.
Probate is mandatory whether or not the deceased had a will. The will should appoint an executor to be in charge of managing the estate. If the deceased did not have a will, the court will appoint an administrator to do the job.
What does a probate lawyer do?
A probate lawyer and a Des Moines estate planning lawyer are the same. They guide the executor of will or administrator through the probate process. The probate lawyer will ensure assets are disbursed in a manner consistent with state laws. This includes identifying estate assets and beneficiaries to distributing assets and inheritances.
The extent to which the probate lawyer is involved depends on whether or not the deceased had a will. If the deceased had a will the probate process will likely be shorter, because their wishes should be outlined in the document. This means the probate lawyer will be involved less. If the deceased did not have a will, the probate process will likely be longer, because none of their wishes are outlined.
The only way the probate process can be completely avoided is by creating a trust. A trust allows for the smooth transfer of money and property outside of the courtroom.
Duties of a Probate Lawyer
Common tasks associated with a probate lawyer include:
- Getting life insurance policy information
- Identifying and securing all assets
- Collecting appraisals of all real property
- Organize payment of bills and debts
- Filing documents required by court
- Satisfying any and all estate or inheritance taxes
- Dealing with income tax issues
- Setting up bank accounts
- Transferring name on assets to the name of the beneficiary
- Final disbursement of assets at the conclusion of probate
Contact Our Des Moines, Iowa Firm
Herting Law, PLLC, is an Iowa-based law firm that has experience in all criminal matters, including OWIs, drug charges, gun crimes, theft, assault, and more. If you need an estate planning lawyer, our firm can guide you. Whatever the situation, Herting Law, PLLC has you covered.